Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President-elect Donald Trump, is preparing to resign as chief executive from his real estate development company, his lawyer said Saturday in a statement, in a move designed to reduce conflict-of-interest concerns as Kushner ponders a position in the White House.
Though plans are not yet final, the statement from WilmerHale partner Jamie Gorelick said that Kushner “is committed to complying with federal ethics laws.” Kushner would also “divest substantial assets” and “recuse from particular matters that would have a direct and predictable effect on his remaining financial interests.”
Kushner’s planned move was first reported by the New York Times in a story exploring his pursuit of a joint venture with a Chinese financial group to redevelop a Manhattan property.
Kushner, 35, is married to Ivanka Trump and has run his family’s multibillion-dollar real estate empire over the last decade. As Trump campaigned for president, Kushner played a key role, acting as a confidant and gatekeeper. Kushner, whose family has donated to pro-Israel causes, also played a role as a Middle East policy adviser. Kushner does not yet have a formal position in the Trump administration but could ultimately take on an advisory role.
The Kushner Companies’ real estate holdings represent just one in a tangle of ethical challenges confronting the president-elect, who has more than 100 companies with business in at least 18 countries. Kushner’s company has focused primarily on development in New York and New Jersey, but it has often relied on foreign investment, and its earnings could be influenced by Trump administration trade and foreign relations policies.
If Kushner takes on a White House role, it would also raise questions about whether the move violates a federal anti-nepotism law. Though there is some debate about whether the law applies to those hired in the West Wing, many experts say a Kushner appointment would draw legal challenges. Gorelick declined to address the issue.
Kushner and Ivanka Trump have prepared for the move to Washington by buying a six-bedroom home in the Kalorama neighborhood, just blocks from where the Obamas will be living after they leave the White House.